Yes, we know that you’re supposed to go to the State Fair to show your pride for the Golden State’s agriculture, art and history; but let’s not mince desires when we all know that what we’re really excited for is all that fair food—the gross, deep-fried fare that only greasy kiosks can offer. Take Spud Ranch’s deep fried nachos ($10) for instance: Pepper jack cheese breaded in crumbs of nacho cheese-flavored Doritos, deep fried and topped with jalapeños and drizzled queso. It’s delightfully crunchy, and the flavors are unusually varied for what is essentially two types of cheese separated by cheese-flavored bread. You can also, apparently, pay to have anything put on anything else at the State Fair. Why not try a Hot Cheetos-encrusted corn on the cob ($7 at The Corn Shack) or a Cap’n Crunch-encrusted chicken sandwich ($9 at Stuffie’s Char-Broiler). After all, what’s a celebration in America without excess? If high class pours and suds (not deep-fried stomach bombs) are more your speed, then never fear. Save Mart’s California Wine Garden is the nation’s largest tasting of Gold Medal-winning California wines, and the Craft Beer Pub offers over 50 in-state-brewed beers. If you want to take it up a notch, the Best of California Brewfest on July 21 ($40 advanced, $45 day-of) offers patrons the chance to sample winners from the California Commercial Beer competition, like the excellent best-in-show winning Kalliope Berliner-style Weisse from Captain Fatty’s Brewery. Check out for more info.

**This write-up first appeared in print on page 11 of issue #270 (July 18 – Aug. 1, 2018)**